One does not realize the importance of something until gets passed it. I hope we go against our nature while making one of the important decisions of life; the selection of university for higher studies.
As cliche as it may sound, I was familiarized with only one path, that is, a medical college. The only other option I had was Fatima Jinnah Women University, as my parents would say. Long story short, I ended up doing a bachelor’ in English from FJWU.
It would be unfair to say that it was a wrong selection for me, though. Let me take you through the merits and demerits of FJWU, so you can decide on your own.
Merits and Demerits of Studying from Fatima Jinnah Women University
MERITS OF FJWU:
The foremost advantage of FJWU is its somewhat modest fee structures. Compared to private education systems, FJWU offers a quality education at a reasonable fee. Other than that, it offers various scholarships to students on merit and needs basis.
The main building of FJWU has a historical significance attached to it, which is the pride of the students of FJWU as well. It used to be the president’s house of the state. Given that, the university is well-structured, with a huge parking area and multiple buildings comprising various departments. Where the old building is historical, the newly built ones are modern and fully equipped with classrooms, halls, washrooms, labs, etc.
3. Co-curricular activities:
The ORIC department at FJWU is responsible for arranging various co-curricular activities for students towards the end of an academic year. Every year, an entrepreneurship gala is set up to help the students with their startups. Moreover, concerts, trips, bonfires, poetry nights, sports week, and other activities are arranged for students to freshen themselves from the hectic student life.
4. Women-only university:
I must say, different people see it differently. For me, a women-only university is not less than a blessing for girls whose parents won’t allow them to study at a co-educational institution. Something is better than nothing. So, FJWU gives the best opportunity to women to get higher education.
FJWU is located at the center of the Rawalpindi, which makes it equally accessible to students from all parts of the city. More importantly, it is near a metro station which is another plus point for students. Its location makes it an easier option.
FJWU has a grand parking area inside of the university premises. Teachers, students, and all other staff can get a parking ticket for their vehicles and easily get a spot for safe parking inside the university.
All kinds of educational and non-educational facilities are available within the university. For example, there are more than one libraries for the students to benefit from. There is also a sports club for many different kinds of sports like Badminton, Table Tennis, Lawn Tennis, Squash, Basket Ball, Hand Ball, Volley Ball, Net Ball, Foot Ball, Athletics, Martial arts, etc. Moreover, there’s also a gym located in the sports club. Then, there’s a mosque and every department has secured more than one space for the offering of prayers.
8. HEC recognized:
FJWU is an HEC recognized semi-government institution that provides quality education to the students according to the HEC given criteria. FJWU is a well-reputed educational organization among both the public and private sectors of Pakistan.
9. Well adapted to the online system:
Onwards 2019 was a difficult time for all educational institutions because of the isolation restrictions imparted as a result of the surge in Covid waves. Fortunately, FJWU took hold of the situation and arranged an online system to lessen its’ impact on students. I, personally, witnessed the change from physical to online classes and FJWU made sure to help students at its best, which makes it one of the institutions that adapted quickly to the arising situation of Covid-19.
10. Good security:
FJWU has a strict security arrangement that requires going through multiple inspections before entering the university.
11. Hostel within university premises:
Again one of the most admirable facilities provided by FJWU for the students is the availability of hostel rooms within the university premises. It becomes easier for women belonging to different areas to come and enjoy the benefits of higher education in a safe environment. There’s also a childcare center for the students to have their children being taken care of while they are at the campus.
• DE-MERITS OF FJWU:
1. No evening shift:
FJWU opens at 8:00 am and closes at 4:00 pm sharp for students. It means there is no evening shift. It sounds fine if you are looking for a bachelor’s degree. But while pursuing Mphil or P.hd. or even with BS in some cases, one might want to work during the morning shift and attend university in the evening. Apart from that, many students like to self-study or complete their assignments, etc. while being in campus where they have access to the library and internet. A university closing at 4:00 pm for students means they could not acquire such opportunities.
2. Strict timings:
You might not get to learn this unless you are a student of FJWU, but once entered the university premises, students are not allowed to leave before 11:30 am, unless they have a letter from their respective DC (Department coordinator). It makes things more difficult than they have to be. For instance, if your lecture is canceled for some reason, then you are stuck at the campus until 11:30 am for no obvious reason. I never understood this rule while studying at FJWU and as far as I know, no other university applies such a rule to the students.
3. No wifi:
One major drawback of the university in this modern age is the absence of an internet facility on the campus. Needless to mention the uses of the internet, especially at an educational institution. FJWU only provides internet in a particular building (seminar hall) far from departments, which is not enough for thousands of students studying at the campus.
4. Bad sanitary conditions:
It might not be true for all the departments, but as far as the ones that I’ve got the convenience to check, the washrooms are in the worst hygienic condition possible. The setups are old with malfunctioning taps, lack of equipment, and no mirrors available. For a women’s university, the washrooms are in a very poor state.
5. No sitting areas:
The university is vast but surprisingly there is no sitting arrangement for students who got to spend time out of classrooms. This is why students are found sitting on the grass which is insightful, unhygienic, contaminating, and blocks the walking paths.
6. Slow management:
Speaking from personal experience, I have no hesitation in saying that the university management is highly uncooperative. You send in a request and wait for ages to get back a reply. One example of this is that even after a year of degree clearance, students are still waiting for their security fee to be processed.
7. One cafe only:
Consider a university with 24+ departments and God knows how many students, and there’s only one cafe. A cafe with not more than 6-7 shops and a limited number of options to choose from. It is one of the reasons why Jinnah Park located right in front of FJWU is more like a cafe to the students than a real cafe.
8. No use of tech:
It is true that projectors or multimedia screens are present in all classrooms. The problem arises when the instructors do not use this technology for the better delivery of the lecture. I wonder why they are even put there if instructors are not taught how to use them or to just use them for the students.
9. More admissions than the resources:
There were more or less 55 students in my batch, and with no sectioning. Not only that the classrooms become congested, resources (like chairs, fans, etc.) are not enough, but it also becomes difficult for the lecturer to deliver a smooth lecture and give feedback to all the students. If admissions are necessary, then students must be grouped into different sections for a better learning environment.
10. Lacking orientation session:
The reason is unknown, there was no orientation session arranged for our batch, resulting in more confusion for the already nervous students. On contrary, those who had the pleasure of getting an orientation session were of the view that it was lacking in many ways. No tour of the university and no souvenir whatsoever.
All things considered, I think opting for FJWU for higher education is not that bad of a choice. I would recommend girls to keep it as an option when looking for an institute that offers you quality education and varied experiences as well.